Sanders pledges to support Democratic nominee in 2020

Sanders pledges to support Democratic nominee in 2020
© Getty

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (I-Vt.), currently a frontrunner in a field of over a dozen Democrats running for president in 2020, pledged to support the Democratic Party’s eventual presidential nominee should he fall short.

“If we do not win, I will strongly support the Democratic nominee…and hope and believe that others feel exactly the same way. Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE must be defeated,” Sanders said Saturday while campaigning in Iowa.

Sanders, who unsuccessfully ran against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonJordan calls Pelosi accusing Trump of bribery 'ridiculous' DOJ watchdog won't let witnesses submit written feedback on investigation into Russia probe: report What are Republicans going to do after Donald Trump leaves office? MORE in the Democratic primary in 2016, was roundly criticized by the party establishment for what some said was a lackluster effort to support Clinton after it was clear he had fallen short of the needed delegates.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Vermont Independent’s party affiliation has long irritated some Democrats who believe Sanders is trying to utilize the party establishment for his gain while rebuffing the party as a whole.

Sanders also vowed he would not go on the offensive against the other Democratic nominees, many of whom are his colleagues in the Senate.

“The nature of our campaign is not belittling people, it’s not opposition research, it’s not attacking other people, but is a serious discussion about the issues facing the American people,” he said.

Several of the Democratic contenders are seeking to differentiate themselves as many angle their appeal toward the party’s progressive base with similar messaging, raising the question if candidates will have to try to set themselves apart on more personal grounds.